TORONTO —The Ontario government has announced it is allocating an additional $83 million towards its Skills Development Fund to help support training projects to develop skilled workers.
Beginning Sept. 29, the fund will begin accepting proposals for the second round of funding and is expanding its eligibility to allow a wider range of organizations to apply.
Details of the plan were released Sept. 28 by Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development, at the LIUNA Local 506 Training Centre in Richmond Hill.
“With almost 150 projects so far, the first round of the Skills Development Fund was a tremendous success, helping 260,000 workers and jobseekers around the province take the next step in their careers,” said McNaughton. “However, we know employers are still having difficulty finding the talented workers they need to stay competitive and grow their businesses. That’s why we’ve opened a second round of funding that will be accessible for an even wider range of programs and organizations.”
The investment includes $334,487 for LIUNA to give 8,000 members of Local 506 as well as construction craft worker apprentices free access to online skills and safety courses through LinkedIn Learning.
“The Skills Development Fund continues to empower career-building opportunities in the skilled trades by expanding and modernizing apprenticeship training,” said Carmen Principato, LIUNA Local 506 business manager, in a statement.
Funding applications will now be accepted from Indigenous skills and employment training centres, Indigenous Band offices, social service administration boards, municipal employment providers, hospitals and other organizations. The funding can also be used to cover a wider range of financial supports for trainees, including expenses for transit and child care.
Organizations applying for the second round of the Skills Development Fund can also receive funding to accommodate trainees and workers with disabilities. This includes travel costs for people who require mobility support, including site-to-site job travel for both participants and support people. Employers can receive up to $5,000 per job placement if they support a trainee with a disability.
Project proposals will be given special consideration if they can demonstrate how they will support postsecondary and high school graduates with disabilities or those experiencing mental health challenges.
The September 28 announcement brings Ontario’s total investment in the Skills Development Fund to $200 million.